ATLANTIC CITY BLACKJACK REPORT – January 2006
By Alene Paone and Frank Scoblete
Alene Paone is the CEO of Paone Press, which sells gaming books and tapes at discount prices. She also writes for www.scoblete.com. Her husband, Frank Scoblete, is the #1 best-selling gaming author in America. Frank’s books and tapes have sold over a million copies. His newest book is The Golden Touch Dice Control Revolution, co-authored with Dominator, the great dice controller.
For a free brochure call: 1-800-944-0406 or write: Paone Press, Box 610, Lynbrook, NY 11563. His websites are www.goldentouchblackjack.com, www.goldentouchcraps.com and www.scoblete.com.
And don’t forget to find out about our new blackjack method, Golden Touch Blackjack!
Making Casinos Better for the New Year
By Frank Scoblete
It is no secret that blackjack revenues are down in Nevada and these ongoing declines began when the casinos put into place awful rules (H17, 6-to-5 blackjacks, etc.), continuous shuffle machines, and poor cuts.
I believe the casinos in attempting to extract more money from the players did just the opposite. They caused players to reduce their betting or play less. The new rules are exploding in the executives’ faces, except the executives don’t know it or, more than likely, pretend to not recognize what is happening.
You can probably make this statement without worrying about being refuted – there are more bad blackjack games in Vegas than at any time in its history. And who knows if this trend will continue.
Well, Atlantic City looks to be following Nevada’s lead.
The Atlantic City casinos are petitioning the casino control commission to allow them to incorporate the H17 rule. This will increase their edge by about two-tenths of one percent. That might not seem like a lot but as time wears on this rule wears on the bankroll of both basic strategy players and card counters. The casinos already have put in the mutant single-deck games where blackjacks pay 6 to 5 and dealers hit soft 17. But these games have not found a huge following.
Not learning from that lesson, the AC casinos will now try to bring in that H17 rule on their six- and eight-deck games.
This is all bad news. It is bad news for the players, yes, but it is worse news for the Atlantic City casinos. Even the stupidest players, known as Ploppies, eventually notice that they are losing more money than they used to. These Ploppies will do one of three things when faced with this reality:
The casinos will actually not gain two-tenths of one percent on blackjack because less money is going to be wagered. They are going to make a fractionally bigger percentage of less money. Mark my words. Mark what has happened in Vegas.
There are still some playable games in Atlantic City for card counters, mostly in the high roller rooms where the six-deck game is the norm. For basic strategy players, Atlantic City’s games are great. There are good rules and even with eight decks, the shallow penetration reduces the losses of the players by a lot.
Players swarm to the blackjack tables in AC, where the game is good and the minimums are relatively high (see one of our letters in this issue). But those swarms will not be quite as big in the future if the AC casinos bring in the H17 rule.
Now I am going to give some unsolicited advice to the casinos because I know a lot of casino people read this newsletter. Instead of making the blackjack games worse, make them better. Bring in double-deck games with good rules; give the deepest imaginable penetration – like 90 percent.
And what about those nasty card counters? Well, here is the advice I give to the casinos when they hire me as a consultant. There is an easy way to deal with truly expert card counters without all the nastiness that has been going on for over 40 years now. Just tell them they can only increase their bets by the number of decks in the game. So if they are playing a two-deck game, they can spread one to two. If they are playing a six-deck game, they can go one to six. And so on.
That will eliminate the edge of the card counter (or most of the edge since some counters would spread 1 to 6 on even the lowest possible positive count at six-deck games) but will not violate the dignity of our fellow American citizens. If I owned a casino that is how I would handle the card counter "problem." Most card counters would continue to play if these new rules were put into effect because the game would be a very close contest and most card counters, if you scratch them softly, have enough gambler in their hearts to figure, "Hey, why not play such a close game?"
It would be good for the casinos too. Think of all those slot-playing spouses and friends who would happily give over their fortunes in the same casino where their hubby or wife or friend was able to play blackjack.
No casino where I have given this advice has ever taken it from me. No casino has ever put these rules into effect. The executives look at me as if I am nuts. Give 90 percent penetration? Good rules? Allow card counters to play? Their normal responses to card counters (or "earners" as one executive calls them) is to "get rid of them!" I ask the executives what if the guy’s wife plays the slots and will lose $200 to $400 an hour? Do you still want to get rid of him?
I am always greeted with silence on this question or by an explanation that their player-tracking programs can’t do husband and wives jointly. Well the solution to this problem is to get better player tracking software!
You don’t have to boot them out or, as the casinos do in AC to everyone’s annoyance, flat bet them and shuffle after every hand or cut the decks in half. Just use the above plan and you can have great blackjack games that make you a lot of money, allow everyone to play the games, and get on with it.
Of course, I would prefer that the casinos not take any action against any card counters but I know that the law will not support such a stance. After all, what if the AC properties said that they would cut off only 10 percent of the cards and deal out the rest and card counters could spread to their hearts’ content? Well, I would sign up all the good card counters I could find, form a massive team, and take over all the tables in AC around the clock.
We would destroy the casinos – and that would end our blackjack playing careers because Atlantic City would die.
Happy New Year.
We Get Letters
Dear Frank and Alene:
I just received the BJI newsletter and I have some comments. I have been going to TAJ two or three times a month for about eight years and have considered them the best, mainly for their clubs (especially the Maha) and cashbacks. But, within the last few months, lots have happened.
I play BJ and Video Poker. The BJ is fine but cashbacks on VP were cut about 1/3 and my host of eight years…was canned, all due to the new management. They also make you play for 1/2 hour for cash or gifts and don't let you know or use unused comps.
Back in July, I tried the Hilton because they offered 5 times cashback for new players and have been extremely happy with them ever since due to
1. Great host
2. Much better cashbacks than the TAJ,
3. They you know exactly what your cashbacks and comps are, and let you convert your unused comps for cash cards for gas, groceries, tools, etc.
4. Better BJ due to friendlier dealers, deeper cuts (at least 80%).
5. They don't charge for parking or room taxes (small things but the little things add up). They now have a temporary Chairman's club (ugh) but will open a large new club with Ocean view next year.
I would drop TAJ to a ** 1/2 and raise Hilton to a ****.
Dear Alene and Frank:
I spent Tuesday afternoon between Christmas and New Years in AC with some friends. We wanted to play together at a low minimum table, which was really hard to find. We started at Borgata, which had one $5 table, two $10 tables and a few $15 tables, but it was really crowded and we'd never be able to play together so we moved on. We should have stayed.
We then walked down the Boardwalk stopping in Tropicana, Caesars, Trump Plaza, Wild Wild West, Resorts, Bally's, Taj Mahal and Showboat. They all had at the most one or two $15 tables, with the exception of Wild Wild West, which had a few $15 tables, and Resorts, which had a few $15 tables and three $10 tables. We stayed and played at Resorts. By 6 PM the $10 tables were bumped up to $15 or $25. The dealers and pit personnel were very nice but the penetration was horrible. They had a marker on the side of the shoe for the dealers to cut off between 2 or 3 of the eight decks. I found two dealers cutting off close to 2 decks (75% penetration) but every other dealer I observed on the floor cut off almost three full decks. The penetration was about 65% for most of our play.
We enjoyed our time there but I will not likely return because they cut off so much of the deck.
Hope this is useful,
Two new adventures to report at Borgies [Borgata] plus regular report.
Dice tables $10, $25, and $100 and one reserved for a couple of high rollers. You could not even watch without getting hassled by security. There is 5X odds at all tables. Long tables. Friendly dealers and pits, see below.
When is you next dice seminar in AC? I have a person who wants to attend. So that makes one for the counting and one for the dice. You emailed me once, but I can not find that email. Please let me know and pencil in two spots. Hope it is not 11-12 March [yes, that is the weekend for blackjack] since that is my only date on the calendar for the spring.
Best wishes for the holiday season.
Dear Alene and Frank:
I am finding that most of the casinos in AC are dealer dependent when it comes to penetration. I was at Showboat in the high roller room and my first dealer was cutting off two decks of a six-deck game. Since he was the substitute dealer I waited for the regular dealer to return and when this guy came back he cut off only one deck. When he went off for his next break I left until his break was over. I found the same thing at Hilton, Tropicana and Caesars. It’s all up to the dealer. This makes Atlantic City a place where players must scout out the tables for themselves and pick the best dealers for penetration.
* * * *
You can read about the Golden Touch World records, including the Captain’s 147-roll hand at www.goldentouchcraps.com/worldrecords.shtml. Want to learn dice control from the masters? Get a copy of The Golden Touch Dice Control Revolution! by Frank Scoblete and Dominator.
* * * *
We’ve decided since many of our Golden Touch Craps dice controllers are now Speed Counters subscribing to this site, we are going to give a quick rundown of the craps games as well. We haven’t played in all the casinos in AC so we would appreciate it if you could email Frank with the table minimums, the odds bets, and anything else you think we might want to use (table lengths very helpful – if you just say "big" we will assume 14-feet as they are at Borgata). If you send us info we will give you a free month on our members-only board. Email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
All the ratings of casinos are based on the blackjack games.
If you’re going to play blackjack, why not play with an advantage? Golden Touch Blackjack will give you the easiest method for getting an advantage at the game. You’ll learn it in 10 minutes, practice for two days, and be able to go into the casino and have a verifiable edge! Learn Speed Count and the new optimum basic strategy in this class. Go to www.goldentouchblackjack.com. Call 1-800-944-0406 to sign up or for more information.
Here are our ratings for January 2006.
***** = Excellent
**** = Very Good
*** = Good
** = Fair
* = Poor.
BALLY’S PARK PLACE: No mid-shoe entry in high roller room and on a few of the main $50 tables in casino, otherwise you can usually Wong here if you wish. Mixed reviews about how deep the penetration is. For craps players, this is a good casino for the game. There is one 5X odds table, usually a $25 minimum; the rest are 2X odds. Crews are friendly. Tables are somewhat high so short shooters get your platform shoes. There are many more carnival games than ever before. Looks like Three-Card Poker rivals blackjack!
Three stars: * * *
BORGATA: No change from last issue. This is still one of the two best blackjack houses in Atlantic City. The place is always hopping and the crowd is young, vibrant and looking for dates. Penetration on all the 6-deck games varies between 75 and 85 percent so you can get some good games here. Craps has long tables, 14-footers, and very bouncy, although there is talk of two smaller tables - somewhere. Great casino for Golden Touch Blackjack.
Four Stars: * * * *
CAESARS: No change since last issue. Excellent restaurants. Cheerful place and worthy of the name it bears. Hotel/casino rating is A. They are going deeper. You can expect about 80 percent penetration with most of the dealers. The main floor of eight-deckers has some of the upper-limit tables ($25 and $50) with no mid-shoe entry. All the games in the high roller pit are also no mid-shoe entry with $100 minimums. Table game action has improved and that is very noticeable in the blackjack pits – which are all 8-deck games. Six-deck games in high roller room have 80 percent penetration, as do the eight-deckers on the main casino floor. Good casino for Golden Touch Blackjack. The craps games here are good with 12-foot tables and friendly crews. The tables are a little high so smaller controlled shooters should wear their "special shoes."
Three and a half stars: * * * ½ *
CLARIDGE: Blackjack games have about 70 percent penetration. The rumor is that the casino is going to be closed.
One Star: *
HARRAH’S: No change from last issue. Harrah’s knows how to treat its customer base and it shows. Excellent property, good rooms, good views, good staff in all areas. As a corporation Harrah’s is doing something right! Harrah’s has maintained a great corporate image and deservedly so. Hotel/casino rating is A. In the casino you will find very friendly dealers and pit personnel. Penetration now ranges in the 75 percent area. Resplitting allowed except aces. No midshoe entry. High roller room is 6-deck action, the rest of the casino was 8-decks. Play here and at Showboat and your play counts all across the nation. For those of you who like to go to Vegas you can get some good comps from your AC action in the desert! A room that would be discounted for $80 in AC would be free in Vegas based on the same play – this is not official but based on our calculations of the offers we’ve received. Good casino for Golden Touch Blackjack. Friendly crews and decent tables at craps. We haven’t played there but reports are good. But we must warn you, this is a big slot place too.
Three Stars: * * *
HILTON: Received an excellent report on this property from one of our correspondents who rated it higher than we did. Resplitting allowed except aces. High roller room is 6-decks, rest of the casino is 8-decks with a few $25/$50 6-deckers on occasion. No mid-shoe entry on the six-deckers. High table minimums, especially on weekends, a lot of $25 tables, rare $10 tables. Penetration about 75 percent, sometimes more. Good casino for Golden Touch Blackjack. For craps, we are dealing with 14-foot tables and a couple of 12 footers. Casino is dark. This place needs a buffing.
Three Stars and a half stars: * * * ½ *
RESORTS: Some contradictory reports on this place but we found it to be the same as last issue. Resplitting is allowed at all tables. Casino also offers multiple-action blackjack and Spanish 21 at $10 minimums. But Resorts has brought in those single-deck zombie-fied blackjack games too. Avoid the single-deckers. Good casino for Golden Touch Blackjack. Excellent place for craps. Mostly small tables, with some games 5X odds. Last we were there, the high roller room had two 10-foot craps tables that were open on the weekend.
Three Stars: * * *
SANDS: No change from last issue. Right next-door to the Claridge and connected by a walkway, the Sands has many different carpets on the first floor which is indicative of the many faces this place has had over the years. Some people still like this place. We don’t. Blackjack games are typical of the lower level of Atlantic City – about 70 percent penetration. Loud music on the first floor makes this place unbearable.
One Star: *
SHOWBOAT: No change from last issue. The table game area has shrunk considerably. Good casino-hotel. Excellent blackjack in high roller room and sometimes the game is just $25 minimums. The penetration is about 80 percent now. A game worth looking at. Rooms are all full-sized and spacious; suites are great. Hotel/casino rating is A. Resplitting now allowed up to three hands. No mid-shoe entry. Eight-deck games have 80 percent penetration and allow mid-shoe entry, although there is not that many tables available. We remember when this place had great table-game action. Can now find $25 games in high roller room at those very good 6-deck games. You can get great deals in other venues by using your card, as it’s a part of the Harrah’s Total Rewards program. Good casino for Golden Touch Blackjack. Craps is fine here too. All the tables are now 12 footers. There are 5X odds on all tables.
Three and a half stars: * * * ½ *
TROPICANA: No change from last issue. The biggest moneymaker in AC. Hotel/casino rating is A. Blackjack games have actually improved here. The main floor now has 6-deckers with mid-shoe entry allowed on almost all of them. High roller room is 6-decks with no mid-shoe entry. Penetration is about 75 percent on all games. Big improvement here in all areas of play. Craps tables are 12-footers. Good casino for Golden Touch Blackjack.
Three Stars: * * *
TRUMP MARINA: Six-deck games in high roller room and 8-deck games on the main floor have penetration of 70-75 percent mark, but you won’t find any dealers going much deeper. Games are mostly $15/$25 and up, especially on weekends. No mid-shoe entry on the 6-deckers but you can jump in and out on the eight-deckers. Craps tables are 12-footers with 2X odds. Haven’t played here in years.
Two Stars: * *
TRUMP PLAZA: Some of our Golden Touch craps players love this place and think we are too hard on it. There’s a multi-million dollar renovation going on to make this a prize casino-hotel again. The 8-deck games have penetration at 75 percent, depending on the dealer. No midshoe entry on eight-deck games outside high-roller pit but you can find $25 (a few) to $50 minimums on these. Allows resplits, except aces. Most eight-deck tables are $10 and higher. High roller room is 6-deck games. Craps tables are 12-footers. Very friendly crews. Good casino for Golden Touch Blackjack.
Three stars: * * *
TRUMP TAJ MAHAL: Despite the letter above, we still think this is the best Atlantic City has to offer. We find it hard to believe that this casino is having economic difficulties, as it is the best place to stay and play in Atlantic City. It has the best casino and the best hotel too. Rooms are all clean and well attended; the building and casino are light and spacious. The staff in all areas is terrific. This is the place to stay. Hotel/casino rating is A+. Despite the fact that they have brought in those 6/5 single-deckers, this place is now tied #1 for blackjack (with Borgata) in Atlantic City as well. We are becoming patrons of the Taj because their dealers and crews are so friendly and professional. Good game with 75-80 percent penetration (even saw some 85 percenters!), dealer dependent. You can find 6-deck games with $25 minimums right outside the high roller room. In the high roller room all games have $100 minimums. Excellent casino for Golden Touch Blackjack. This is the best casino for craps in AC as well. All 5-X odds tables and one 20X odds table. The crews have been universally pleasant. Tables are all 12-footers. In our estimation, this is the number one craps and blackjack casino in Atlantic City.
Four Stars: * * * *
WILD, WILD WEST: No change from last issue. All 8-deck games. This is a part of Bally’s Park Place. Penetration is about 75-80 percent on all games. Good place for Golden Touch Blackjack. For craps this is a fun place to play with one 5X odds table. Crews are very friendly.
Three Stars: * * *
THE BEST BLACKJACK IN ATLANTIC CITY: Taj Mahal and Borgata
The Best Craps in Atlantic City: Taj Mahal
The Best Hotel/Casino in Atlantic City: Taj Mahal
©2015, DeepNet Technologies. No material to be copied without express permission of DeepNet Technologies.